Monday, February 18, 2013

Back and Better than Ever!!

So you might have noticed that I took down my blog a while ago. Sorry if you were following it and found yourselves confused as to why it was gone. Well, I am terrible about updating blogs but I will try my hardest to keep this as up to date as possible.

In between the last post and this one, I had to, sadly, separate my little robo pair. Kousagi now lives in several Habitrial Ovos all hooked up together, on the headboard I use as a bookshelf. All in all, they took the separation quite well and are as happy as clams being apart.

Anyways, with that all said and done, onto some more fun stuff. You'll see that I gave my blog a brand spankin' new title picture. Don't you just love that new picture smell? I sure do! Its the best smell ever!! You'll notice that it features a certain little somebody whom I love and adore. In case you're puzzled, that's Holly up there. She is still around, though getting on in age. I guess she is getting to that point in life where you spend more time sleeping than awake. She always seems to be snuggled deep within her huge nest, leaving me puzzled as to what she is always doing in there.

Keeping on with the all new feel to the blog, I am adding reviews for treats and food stuffs later on. Yeah, I know I promised something like that about a year ago, but its going to happen. I swear!!

To start things off, I am going to give you all a review on something I picked up at Petsmart some time ago. Its a package of oat sprays I found in the pet bird isle. You'd be surprised as to how many bird items can be safely fed to a hamster. Well, here is a link to the oatsprays at the Petsmart website so you can see what the packaging looks like:

Its part of the store's All Living Things brand so, it has that sort of packaging to it. The cellophane packaging is kind of difficult to open and I struggled with it for a few minutes before finally getting the scissors and slashing it open in one fell swoop. Inside there are about 20-30 oat sprays, which look like something like this.

Mmmmmm, full of fibery goodness!

They are golden yellow in appearance and have several seed pods where the oat seeds are located. Since my dad was raised on a dairy farm, I knew what to expect. Some people not familiar with the oat plant might be a little surpised to find its actually a very grass-like plant. Its not super fresh, but since its dried, its very much okay to feed your hamsters.

I put about 3/4 into Holly's tank and she waddled on over and began to "harvest" the seeds from the stalks. I felt it gave her some very important enrichment as she went about it, and to me felt like she was almost gathering them like her ancestors would have done with similar plants in the wilds of Syria. When the seeds were all gone, she had the stalks to gnaw on as an added bonus. She pouched some, waddled on back into her nest hole and (I am assuming as I can't see what she does in there) began to line it with her new prize.

I also gave some to Chibiusa and Kousagi respectively, and they each did pretty much the same thing. After a few days, not much remained of the sprays.

All in all, I say this is a very good buy. It provides a healthy treat, enrichment, something to gnaw on afterwords, and a good nest lining material. I give it a solid 10 out of 10!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

News and a Warning

Well, things have been busy for me and I've just only rediscovered that I made this blog. Sorry about leaving my followers hanging. I am going to be more attentive from now on, seeing that I now have three little hamsters to use as models and such.

I am going to start this blog entry by introducing my precious dears to you all, and then end it with a warning about that fluffy nesting material and why its so very dangerous. I also promise an up and coming review on different hamster foods.

Now onto the stars of the entry. First up is my lovely short haired mink syrian, Holly. She was brought home shortly before last Christmas, hence her holiday themed name. She loves to come out and sniff at me, and is always eager to get a special little treat.


She is just a little dear, and I wouldn't have her any other way. Now, moving on to my newest hamster additions, the Tsukinos. They are roborovski hamsters and the tiniest species of hamster in the world. They are named Chibiusa and Kousagi and I love them to bits, as they are so gosh darned cute.

Chibiusa and Kousagi

Chibiusa is the bolder of the two, always daring to venture out and see what is happening every time I do something to their cage during the day. She can be differentiated from her bolder attitude and the fact that Kousagi has a dark frown spot on her back. She also nests under the pile of shredded paper and coconut husk I put in there for nesting material.

Kousagi, on the other hand, is the shyer of the two and has her nest in the right front corner of the cage, deep within the bedding. Sometimes I see her, sometimes I don't. It depends on how bold she is and how much she wants to venture out to stretch her legs.

Next time I'll share both Holly and the robo girls' cages with you. 

And now onto that warning about the fluffy and soft nesting material. While it may seem nice and cozy, its anything but. Actually. the hamster may pouch the material, and because the fibers are so small and snag so easily, they might get stuck in cheek pouches, causing an infection to occur. They can also be accidentally ingested by the hamster and cause a blockage along its digestive tract that is almost always lethal, if not directly, indirectly though dehydration from diarrhea and malnutrition. I know of a poor ham who went though just that. Poor dear.

So now you know not to use that kind of nesting material ever again. Instead, you can just rip up some toilet paper and give your hamster that.

Well, that's all for now, so see ya later!!

 As always, stay savvy!!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hamster Cages

I realize that I left my readers hanging and hungering for more hamster related info and news after my last post. So, I am back to help ease the suffering. Thus, I bring to you, a brand new post! This post will detail hamster cages. I will talk about what sizes are appropriate as well as what types. I will also dispel long popular rumors on this subject. So without further adieu,  the rest of my post.

Plastic Trail Cages

These cages have long since been popular with many crowds, mostly the younger ones, and I have to admit, I used one or two back in my youth. Made by popular companies such as Crittertrail and Habitrail, they provide everything one would think any hamster would need all in one nifty and visually engaging setup. There are even themes that the manufacturers provide such as a royal castle or Dora the Explorer. Some, like the Habitrail Ovo, even bring about a space age look and feel. While this cage is somewhat okay, I use "okay" loosely here, for dwarfs and Chinese hamsters, they are much too small and cramped for Syrian hamsters. Syrians can barely fit in the tubes and the wheels provided with the setup leave many a Syrian with back aches because of they are a poor, and much too small, fit. Long story short folks, don't ever use this type of cage with a Syrian. Its just not a good fit, literally.

These cages are also somewhat a pain in the backside to clean. What with the disassembling and scrubbing down of all the parts and pieces, then drying them and putting them back together. This process can take in excess of an hour or more to complete. Add to that the price tag these puppies can have, some costing upwards of $50-$60 for a measly amount of space, and neither you nor your hamster will be happy.

Wire Cages

A simple wire cage with a plastic bottom is becoming increasingly popular as the preferred cage to purchase. Its lightweight, easy to clean and many things can be done to it. Some even come with a wheel, food dish and water bottle. Even cages with multiple levels can be bought. However, most wire cages that are sold as hamster cages are a bit on the small side if your looking to house a Syrian. The wheels are, again, too small for a Syrian and those snazzy looking levels can pose a potential risk of a fall. Lets face it. Hamsters aren't the brightest crayon in the box. They will walk right off of a ledge, not knowing or really thinking, where the bottom of the fall will be. This is mostly because they are terribly nearsighted and can't discern distances at all well. So, with this being said, a cage with multiple levels that allow the hamster to walk right over the edge might not be the best idea.

Homemade Bin Cages

With the lack of great cage options on the shelves of stores, more and more hamster owners are turning to making homemade bin cages for their hamsters. This gives the owner complete control of the size of the cage and most importantly, the floor space. Floor space is key with any hamster cage. The more you have, the better. Hamsters do best with their four little feet firmly on the cage floor, so multiple levels aren't really needed. Remember what I said about them being terribly nearsighted and unable to discern distances well? This type of cage also allows you to add a proper sized wheel, which is very important to hamster health. A wheel which is too small will cause the hamster to arch its back when running, thus causing soreness and eventually disfigurement. That's right. The spine will literally become deformed after a while.

As well as giving you control over many of its aspects, this type of cage is also extremely cheap and easily made. All you need is a storage bin, hardware cloth, and a few basic tools. I will post a step by step guide to making one in the future. In the meantime, feel free to Google it. This cage is also very simple and easy to clean and, as its made of plastic, its light weight and won't break easily. All in all, a very popular and ideal option.

Glass Tanks

Some people prefer to use glass tanks as cages as they are convenient and provide ample space, when the proper size is selected that is. Now, there is a popular misconception that a glass tank wouldn't provide the required ventilation needed to keep the hamster healthy and happy. Well, this is just that, a misconception. If the cage is cleaned on a regular basis and is the proper size, this is not at all a problem. In fact, the mesh lid will give your hamster all the ventilation it needs. One can also add a homemade cage topper to these cages for even more space, though be cautious with the levels. Make sure the hamster can't tumble over the edge and go free falling down to the tank floor. This isn't at all good for their little bodies what with internal injuries and whatnot. 

Some people will cram a poor Syrian hamster in a ten gallon and think all is fine. Well, in reality, its not. The minimum tank size is a 20 long, even with a dwarf or Chinese hamster. Remember, floor space is the most important thing here. Of course, if you can go bigger, all the better. I am currently working on getting my 29 gallon breeder in shape to house the latest hamster I will be getting.

Also remember that when housing multiple dwarf hamsters, that levels aren't recommended. Levels will cause territorial issues and eventually fights to the death.

Well, that's all I know about cages. Sorry if I missed anything. Its very late at night and I tend not to write the best at this hour.

Regardless, and as always,

Stay Savvy!!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hamster Bedding

I am going to add one more post to my blog before I call it a night, as it is very late and I am very tired.
Tonight's topic is going to be bedding, as in what types and brands to use and what not to use. I think I will start by saying this one valuable bit of information so that its very clear to you readers:  The pet stores, like Petco and Petsmart, are more interested in selling you a product and making money than they are at keeping your animal healthy and happy. Its their foremost concern. Its understandable to a point, I mean its what a good business should be doing, making sales to profit the business, but within reason. Its when the company starts selling and not considering who they are selling too and what they are selling that it gets to be a problem. I, however, digress. This is a blog dedicated to info, not to bash corporate fat cats. For that, I advise going to a political blog. Now onto the topic at hand, bedding. There are many bedding types available. Pine, Cedar, Carefresh, and even shredded paper to name a few. Here is my list on the best and worst beddings to use. I will group them by wood shavings, paper products, and grasses.

Wood Shavings  

Pine Shavings
While this is a popular choice among hamster owners for its fresh piney scent, it is the very scent that is the reason this bedding is not suitable. That nice scent you smell comes from oils in the wood. These oils, while indeed fragrant, cause the hamster skin irritation, and over time, hair loss. This causes the hamster to have unnecessary stress and shortens their life overall. Please refrain from using this as a bedding. I know that they sell it at the pet stores, but its just to make money, not for the interest of the pet.  

Cedar Shavings
Popular for the same reasons as pine shavings, its fresh and appealing scent. Yet it has those oils that cause the skin irritation and hair loss like pine shavings. Please don't use these either.

Aspen Shavings
A very good choice indeed, and the only type of wood shavings that I am aware of being sold at major pet stores that is okay to use. These particular type of shavings don't have those pesky, skin irritating oils in them and can be used alone or with other acceptable beddings. I don't use them personally but they are used by other top hamster owners and breeders.

Paper Products  

When I refer to Carefresh, I am of course, referring to the products made from bits of fluffed cardboard and whatnot. They come in a range of cheerful and attractive colors which pleases the younger crowd, and are soft and comfy for the rodent. It should be advised that this bedding is known to contain mites so be cautious when putting into the cage ( though I have been using this brand for a few years now and have yet to see any mites in my cage or on my hamsters ). I use the Carefresh Ultra brand which is specially designed to absorb odor as well as wick up moisture. I notice that the bedding around the water bottle can sometimes be a tad bit soggy because of this but the pieces are good at holding and keeping in excess moisture.

Shredded Paper
Some people like to use shredded paper from their paper shredder as a bedding. It is both plentiful and cheap as well as readily accessible. However, this type of bedding is poor at absorbing odor and moisture. It also tends to get messy really quickly.  


Straw and Hay
Some people like to use straw and hay as bedding if they have it readily available. It smells nice, and offers the hamster a snack as well as as a place to curl up in. It can get moldy quickly though, due to urine and water leaking from the water bottle, so be on the lookout for that. Mold spores can get into the hamster's lungs and cause respiratory complications. It also can cause other problems if ingested.

 Natural Soil Beddings 

I don't really know much about the type of soils that go into a natural hamster cage, but I do know that they are popular among German and other European countries thereabouts. Maybe a reader can fill us in on that particular subject.

Well that is all that I know about hamster bedding. I don't know much else.

Till next time,
Stay Savvy!!

Hamster Savvy is Born!!

Hamster Savvy is an online resource for hamster knowledge. I am going to collect knowledge from all over the webs and put them in one place for all to see. Continue to come back for more interesting and informative posting.

Stay Savvy!!